Dreidel PNG Transparent Images

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License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC


Submitted by on Apr 7, 2020

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The dreidel is a 4-sided top used in a game that is usually played by Jewish children during Hanukkah. Hanukkah, or Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday celebrated between the end of November and the end of December. The name comes from the Yiddish word “dreydl” which means to turn or turn. Each side of the Dreidel has a corresponding letter of the Hebrew alphabet written on it: Nun, Gimel, Hei, and Shin. Together, these letters form the acronym N.G.H.S. (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham), which translates to “a great miracle happened there.” Dreidels sold in Israel carry the letters N.G.S.P. (Nes Gadol Hayah Po), which means “A great miracle happened here.”

How The Dreidel Came To Be

It has been said that the Jews started playing with a similar top during the reign of the Greek King Antiochus. At that time, Jews were banned from worship and were persecuted when they were captured. Whenever guards or soldiers began to suspect them of gathering to study Torah, they began to play the game of Dreidel to give the impression that they were gambling.

How To Play

The dreidel game can be played with a number of people greater than 2. Players will need a “gelt,” which can be money or pieces of chocolate candy coins. Players must put a piece in the center “pot” at the start of each round. Each player will have the chance to spin the dreidel. When the top stops spinning, it falls to one side. The letter that appears at the top will determine how much the player will receive from the pot. Nun means that the player receives nothing. Gimel means that the player takes everything in the pot. Hei, the player receives only half of what is in the pot. Shin means the player loses and instead adds a piece of his share to the pot!

The popularity of the Jewish dreidel has grown enormously, as professional tournaments are now held in major cities in the United States and North America. The Major League Dreidel organizes dreidel tournaments during the Hanukkah holidays where players compete for the longest rotation time.

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